By Debby Woodin
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
The Jasper County commissioners gave final approval Tuesday to an ordinance that requires properties outside incorporated towns to be kept free of junk and health hazards.
About 30 residents attended the final reading of the county ordinance.
Several area residents have spoken out at recent meetings when the measure was discussed. Some have said that those who live in the country should be able to do as they please on their own land and that the ordinance was an attempt to adopt a zoning law, though voters had previously rejected a county zoning ballot question.
The ordinance prohibits residents from keeping junked motor vehicles of all kinds, construction materials, broken furniture and appliances or trash in yards, or allowing weeds to become overgrown. Legal motor vehicle businesses and salvage yards are exempt from the prohibition on keeping inoperable or abandoned vehicles.
Commissioner John Bartosh said earlier that the county wanted the authority to address “extreme problems” that have created complaints from neighbors and residents. The state passed a law last year that allowed the county to adopt an ordinance regulating public nuisances and health hazards.
Under the ordinance, the county health department will determine whether a complaint constitutes a public nuisance or health hazard. If there is a finding that a nuisance exists, the property owner will be notified and will be given 15 days to achieve compliance with the law.
Emergency measures are set out if immediate correction is needed to prevent a public health risk.
Property owners have a right to appeal a correction notice issued by the health department or to request an extension. An appeal can be filed with the County Commission within 15 days after an order is received or before the deadline for correction, whichever is shorter.
If the commission orders a cleanup by county workers or by a contractor, the measure allows the costs to be assessed in a special tax bill or as an addition to property taxes.
COUNTY COMMISSION decisions regarding nuisances may be appealed to Jasper County Circuit Court.